Many of you may be familiar with Mikhalkov's work as director and star in the Oscar Award winning Burnt By the Sun. Mikhalkov's sexual presence in the movie is stunning, especially considering the youth and beauty of his co-stars.
My favorite film of his, however, has received little attention, beyond the fact that it was the first Russian (that is not Soviet) film ever to be nominated for Best Foreign Film. Urga, (or Close to Eden, in its US release), tells the story of a nomadic Mongolian family. The wife fed up with the crowded conditions in their yurt, gives her husband an ultimatum. He must go to the city come back with condoms.
His quest takes him to China, but he cannot bring himself to buy condoms. He returns instead with a Television strapped to his horse. What follows is a beautiful meditation on family, masculinity, media and culture. Its photography of the Mongolian steppes alone is worth hunting it down in VHS.